Powerful Women’s Leading Performances
March 8 is International Women’s Day and the whole month is Women’s History Month, so what better way to celebrate than with the best films and television featuring strong women. From forbidden love in Carol to tackling ageism in Younger, login to those streaming services and devour these shows and films with female leads:
THELMA AND LOUISE
We all want to be best friends with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis aka Thelma and Louise. As they set out on an adventure of a lifetime, they commit murder and the police chase them across the country. The movie tells a beautiful story of women supporting women, taking fate into their own hands and leaving the men who harmed them behind. The Davis’ and Sarandon’s strong presences will almost make you forget Brad Pitt is in the movie. Almost.
Kate Winslet can capture the attention of any viewer, even if she’s not the main focus (see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). That’s the case with The Reader, too. It’s equally Ralph Fiennes story as it is Winslet’s, but her raw performance as a former SS leader who is illiterate leaves an impression on anyone who watches.
Sigourney Weaver is a badass, weapon-wielding alien fighter in this sci-fi thriller directed by Ridley Scott. Weaver’s performance has gone down in history as one of the most influential in female cinema. Before 1979, when did you ever see a strong woman kicking some alien ass? My guess is never.
Isabelle Huppert’s performance as the title character in this French-language psychological thriller is one people will be talking about for years. Huppert’s cold, distant demeanor captivates the audience as she deals with an assaulter and stalker. While she copes with the vulnerability of living alone, she also has to mitigate the nonsense in her social life.
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara find themselves in the midst of a beautiful relationship in this lesbian semi-love story. Movies featuring lesbian relationships are far and few between, but Carol was one of the first to bring it mainstream but maintain an arthouse quality. The story will reel you in, but Blanchett’s and Mara’s performances will have you sticking around till the end.
It takes bravery to lie about your age on your resume, and it takes even more courage to fight ageist systems. That’s what Sutton Foster’s character Liza does on Younger. She is caught between a loving a man her age and one who is almost 20 years younger, but her empowering story is what makes the show (which is going into its sixth season) so good. Liza is surrounded by other strong women (Hilary Duff, Miriam Shorr, Molly Bernard and Debi Mazar), and its that unwavering sisterhood that makes the show so great.
BIG LITTLE LIES
There’s nothing that unties women more than an accidental homicide. That’s the premise of the first season of HBO’s Big Little Lies. The drama creates so much tension as the women uncover more secrets about each other. Starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz, image this show as a grown-up version of Pretty Little Liars.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Before there was The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, there was Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as the title character who, well, kills vampires. The cult classic series as accumulated quite the fan base over the years, and that could all be thanks to Gellar’s kick-butt nature.
THE MINDY PROJECT
After Mindy Kaling’s stint on The Office, she assumed the lead role in her own series that bears her name. How amazing is that?! The doctor by day, heartbreaker by night finds herself on a path of self discovery and owning her place in the world. Binge-watching all six seasons of this sitcom will hold you over until Amazon releases her highly anticipated film Late Night, which arrives in June.
What’s more empowering than women wrestlers in ’80s? Nothing. This group of women shows wrestling is not just a manly-man’s sport, and that women can do everything a man does. And if you’ve ever wanted to throw down in the ring, watch GLOW then exercise your right to fight.